Long-Term Prognosis For Rat Poison Cases Is Good

Rachita writes: Do most dogs that recover from rat poisoning, do so completely and without any long-term residual symptoms? In addition, do any precautions need to be taken when she is taken back home and is with her sister (who is healthy, no ingestion of poison)?   Thanks again for all your efforts here!  (For the full text of Tikki’s story click on this link and scroll down to the COMMENTS section.)

Rachita’s dog, Tikki,

Tikki is on her way to healing after ingesting rat poison.
Tikki is on her way to healing after ingesting rat poison.

ingested a rodenticide while Rachita was out of town and her dog was staying with her parents. (Can you imagine the grandparent guilt?) There is special cause for concern in Tikki’s case because blood was discovered in the lungs during examination at the local emergency hospital.

In Tikki’s case, not only was vitamin K1 administered, but an infusion of plasma was also required. Plasma administration is especially helpful when clotting factors have been exhausted from the bloodstream. It takes time for the liver to begin to produce its own clotting factors, whereas providing exogenous plasma (from a local donor dog or purchased from a blood bank) allows the body to resume clotting at a near-normal level very quickly.

If rodenticide continues to be active in the body, plasma administration may have to be repeated.

Once a rat-poison patient is “out of the woods,” long-term prognosis becomes good.  The degree of danger up to that point depends on a variety of factors including type of rat poison, duration of poisoning prior to treatment, effectiveness in removing rodenticide from the body. Other variables include patient specifics such as age, preexisting health problems and response to treatment.

Potential complications include pneumonia in Tikki’s case because blood is a good culture medium and the warm, moist lungs make a good place for infections to grow.

If a dog or cat bleeds so greatly as to deprive the brain of oxygen for a significant period of time, certain neurological problems may occur after recovery. Seizures and loss of mental acuity could also occur.

Rachita, breathe easy. Tikki sounds like she is well on her way to recovery. She is getting all the right treatments, and now you must be faithful on followup medicine and testing to ensure that she will be free from relapses.

Click on “Rodenticide Poisoning” under the Categories listings on the right side of this page.  Read all of the posts, including the Comments in order to glean all of the information you need to ensure that your pet’s care is done correctly and completely.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.



  1. Hi,

    My 2.5 year old GSD was caught playing with some Decon by my husband when she was a puppy. He caught her right away and we called our vet. She advised us to elicit vomiting using peroxide. We did and the dog vomited presumably the entire contents of her stomach. We didn’t see any decon in the vomit and assumed she probably didn’t even eat any. The vet did not have us bring her in and no medication was administered. She did not seem to display any symptoms in the days that followed. Fast forward, she started having issues with periodic bouts of vomiting. Vomit would typically be thick, copious, and clear/yellow (containing a lot of bile). She was often disinterested in her food and over time developed very loud stomach noises. She would sometimes be very lethargic. Sometimes she would eat ravenously but afterward her stomach would become upset and she would refrain from eating again for about 12 hours or so. Vomiting seemed to occur due to her empty stomach that resulted from her refusal to eat. She has never really had diarrhea. However she did start to have periods of excessive thirst and started eating her own poop. Her weight was low. She was growing and while she was not losing weight she was also not gaining. She was very skinny. I could see her spine. At that time I pushed for a blood panel. My vet did a basic blood panel and found that her kidney enzymes were not normal. One was elevated and the other was low (sorry, I’m not sure which was which- BUN/ Creatinine). I asked for an EPI test. It was positive. Her TLI was less than one. I started her on enzymes. They helped significantly with the stomach noises. However, she still has issues with periodic bouts of vomiting and she does not have much interest in eating her food. At times I have to spoon feed her. Her breath sometimes smells bad and I can tell it comes from within. She is flatulent. She drinks a lot of water. She has an upcoming appointment with an internal medicine doctor. But I am wondering if you think this could be kidney failure? If so, is it possible that it was caused by the Decon? Could it have preceded the EPI, or even caused it? Does kidney disease cause recurring pancreatitis? If so, could that cause or even mimic EPI? All feedback is appreciated.

    • Thank you for these questions. 1, the D-con is long gone and no longer poses a threat. 2, we don’t even know that she has kidney disease based on this report. (And, BUN and creatinine are not enzymes.) 3, while you are supplementing with digestive enzymes, you can never dispense enzymes into the GI tract like God does, therefore, having ongoing GI problems is not unusual. 4, she may benefit from a third meal each day. 5, if GI signs persist, she may need a further workup for other GI problems. Thank you for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  2. Hi, in 2017 my German Shepard mix ate some green squares of rat poison and I was able to make her vomit right away but the vet did not start her on any medications and didn’t see her.
    She survived but now on October 9, 2020, she vomited and didn’t want to eat and I took her to another vet and was told she had a gallbladder mucocele from possibly a toxin/poison. She stayed 5 days on IV fluids and was given Ursodiol ,and prednisone. She did well for a couple of days and then stopped eating. She passed November 14,2020…. could this rat poisoning from 2017 have cause this? All of her blood work was straight down the middle except for her liver values….

    • Not a chance. Please accept our sympathy on the loss of your baby. That’s a real heartbreak. In the future, vomiting or not, please insist on prophylactic treatment. The risk of medicine is incredibly low and the risk of death if she ate more than she vomited is incredibly high, especially if initiation of treatment has been delayed. But, within a few weeks, a month at most, that episode was behind her and did not cause her present liver problems.

  3. a friend of mine had taken her 2 dogs for a trail walk mid 2017
    both dogs were off leash since there was no one else around.. her male dog had got a little bit of distance from his owner. he went over a small hill and out of site only for about 30 sec
    she called his name as she was coming over the top of the hill,did not see him right away but then had noticed him about 15 feet away laying on his side twitching and shaking uncontrollably and foaming at the mouth.. she had noticed a small white cloth close to his head.
    she quickly picked him up and headed back to the car which was only a short distance away ,
    loaded him in and started driving to the local vets .
    sometime along the way he had stopped breathing .
    somehow they got him inside and brought him back to life , she was told that he had been poisoned
    and they wanted to keep him over night..
    back the next day the owner was told that he was not in pain
    but what ever he got into will eat away at his brain cells over time.
    and may have to put him down at some point.
    what ever it was will also break down his immune system and he will experience different problems

    what type of poison would cause gradual long term effects?
    random different personality .
    randomly going to the bathroom inside when this was never an issue in 6 years.
    always wanting to drink a lot of water.
    can not eat anything without getting sick “unless it is at a higher level so he does not have to tilt his head down”
    randomly walks into things ,doors,walls, and not really even flinching .
    recently he has attacked the house cat when not even once has there been any issues between the 2 in over 5 years.
    the owner even says there is a different look in his eyes.. “it’s just not the same”
    he has only once shown aggressiveness towards his owner after the cat incident which was recent .

    he is a beautiful blue merle Australian shepherd
    the owner also has the mother
    and i own the sister to him 😉 its sad to see whats happening to him ,

    • What a heartbreaking story! It’s clear that whatever happened to him did central nervous system damage. Interestingly, some CNS injuries can improve with time, just as people with brain bleeds sometimes regain function. I’ll say a prayer for him, and all of you who grieve for him. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

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